Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Trees in Medical Use – Dominica

On June 17,  2003, Dominica Post issued the stamp set features the medicinal plant tree. The issue  comprises of 4 postage stamps depicted the trees in medical use; such as : Hymenaea courboril, Spondias mombin, Genipa americana (Jagua), Guazuma ulmifonia (Guacima). 

Hymenaea courboril

Hymenaea courbaril  is a tree common to the Caribbean, Central, and South America. It is a hardwood that is used for furniture, flooring and decorative purposes.

Hymenaea courbaril produces an orange, resinous, sticky gum that converts to amber through a chemical process that requires millions of years. Hymenaea courbaril is a very hard wood measuring 5.6 on the Brinell scale , approximate measurements of hardness. Hymenaea courbaril wood features a tan/salmon color with black accent stripes that over time turns to a deep rich red color. 

Spondias mombin

Spondias mombin is a tree, a species of flowering plant in the family Anacardiaceae. It is native to the tropical Americas, including the West Indies. The tree has been naturalized in parts of Africa, India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. It is rarely cultivated.

The fruit-juice is used as a febrifuge and diuretic.  The bark is used as a purgative and in local applications for leprosy. The bark decoction is used for severe cough, causing relief through vomiting. The dry pulverized bark is applied as a dressing to the circumcision wound. The bark contains a certain amount of tannin.

The leaves, ground with sugar, are rubbed on the mouth and gums. A leaf infusion is a common cough remedy or used as a laxative for fever with constipation. A leaf decoction is used for gonorrhea. In Suriname's traditional medicine, the infusion of the leaves is used as a treatment of eye inflammation, diarrhea and venereal diseases.
All these leaves are used for leprosy. Crushed with lemon they are effective for worms in children. With Alchornea leaves and lemon a gargle is made from the leaves. They are crushed to obtain the juice. A decoction of pounded leaves is used as an eye lotion and the juice pressed from young, warm leaves is given to children for stomach troubles. 
Genipa americana

Genipa americana is a species of Genipa, native to northern South America (south to Peru), the Caribbean and southern Mexico, growing in rainforests. It is commonly called Jagua

Jagua prefers alluvial soils, and grows very quickly (producing in 3 years), even in heavily flooded fields.
It is a small tree growing to 15 m tall. The leaves are opposite, lanceolate to oblong, 20–35 cm long and 10–19 cm broad, glossy dark green, with an entire margin. The flowers are white, yellow or red, with a five-lobed corolla 5–6 cm diameter. The fruit is a thick-skinned edible berry 5–8 cm diameter.

Genipa americana is cultivated for its edible fruit, which are made into drinks, jelly, sherbet and used in ice cream. The juice of the immature fruit is clear, but induces a chemical reaction on the human skin resulting in a tattoo-like dark blue.
Used by rainforest natives as body-painting color. The ripened fruit of Jagua is often eaten raw or made into jam. The fruit is brewed into a tea and taken as a remedy for bronchitis.

Guazuma ulmifonia

Guazuma ulmifonia or Guacima is a small to medium sized tree normally found in pastures and disturbed forests. This flowering plant from the Malvaceae family grows up to 30m in height and 30–40 cm in diameter. It is widely found in areas such as the Caribbean, South American, Central America and Mexico serving a number of uses that varies from its value in carpentry to a utility in medicine.

Clinical data supports a use of the seeds for weight loss purposes. It has also been found useful as a(n): Analeptic, Antibacterial, Antidote, Comocladia, Antiherpetic, Antiprostaglandin, Antiseptic, Antiviral, Aperitif, Astringent, Bronchodilator, CNS-Stimulant, Cytotoxic, Depurative, Diaphoretic, Diuretic, Emollient, Hemostat, Pectoral, Respirtory stimulant, Stomachic, Uterotonic.

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